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Perhaps for the so-called “Millennials” (those born between 1981 and 1996) and even less for those of “Generation Z” or “iGeneration”  (born after 1996) the fact that once we "Baby boomers" (born between 1946 and 1964) and also those of the first years of "Generation X" (born between 1965 and 1980) could pass the 90% of our free time outside the home and not in front of a computer, tablet or mobile phone will seem like an invention. Yet it was reality.

We who grew up with almost nothing (but certainly much more than our fathers and grandparents had) were lucky enough to live our childhood and adolescence in a world that, despite being in transition and evolving socially, culturally and economically it offered us, through games (which we often invented from scratch or adapted to our daily reality) a lot of opportunities to sharpen our wits, learn, develop our skills.

Not that today's kids can't do this with what the world and technology of the 2000s make available, but it's good to keep in mind that ultimately not having the latest type of cell phone or a fast internet connection or the motorcycles or designer sneakers does not diminish our status nor the opportunities that present themselves or slow down our imagination. On the contrary ...

On this page we want to tell you how all this happened a few years ago when instead of disposable, prefabricated or electronic things we were happy to recycle things, build them by relying on the art of making do and cutting-edge technology was to put some new "bearings" for the "carriage". We will talk about some of the games that enlivened perhaps the most beautiful period of our lives, our childhood and adolescence, and which at the same time contributed to our growth and which by forcing us to "sharpen our ingenuity" actually helped us to be who we have become. We do it so that first of all we do not forget them and then they are a testimony for future generations of how even with the little we had ultimately we managed to do great things for the so-called "posterity". After all let's not forget the maxim: "I was what you are. You will be what I am".

It's called: “The circle of life”.

  'O Tuocco (La Conta)  

  Three by three thirty-three'  

  Mace and stink  (The Game of Lippa or Cavicchiolo)  

  O' Strummolo  (The Spinning Top)  

 O' Chirchio (the circle) 

Semmana (Week or Bell)

Footballer figurines

Balls (Marbles)

Caps and buttons

One moon to the moon

Poglia (Hide and Seek or Guard and Thieves)


Flag (Steal Flag)


Jump rope




O' Tuocco (The count)  

Let's start from the beginning. Or “tuocco” (not to be confused with the piece of wood that was once brought for New Year's Eve) was usually the first act of a game. If it was necessary to decide whose turn it was first or in general to establish an order, it was decided to "draw lots" or "do the counting", or rather it was done "o tuocco". Here's how it went

We stood in a circle (or facing each other if there were only two of us) and then we decided where to start the count. Usually the "group leader" or often all together recited at least a couple of times: "for ... the name of the person where to start) while everyone waved their forearm in the air a few times with their fist closed like a hammer.

At a nod, all the members of the group  they held out the hand that until then had hovered with the closed fist in the middle of the circle, opening it and showing some (or all) of the fingers to indicate a number between zero (closed fist) or 5 (the hand completely open. The fingers were added indicated by all participants and the total was declared.

We then began to count starting from the person who had been designated at the beginning ("the for"), going in a clockwise direction in a circle.

The person who was associated with the final number of the count was the one who had the privilege/right to begin the activity, that is, depending on the case, choose the playmates, decide which side to take, the starters, the game, etc.


Tre a tre

Three by three thirty-three'  

This was a typical late spring to early fall game. However, there had to be at least 7 of us to play and there had to be an odd number. You could also do it with fewer people but it wasn't that fun.

We divided ourselves into two groups of equal numbers and the person who remained outside had the task of acting as the so-called "vammana" (literally "midwife") but here the role was intended more as referee, safety cushion and mediator all in one one shot.

The vammana usually leaned against a tree or wall or sat on a step with her back to the wall, tree or door.

The members of a team (drawn together with the "tuocco" of course) positioned themselves in front of the vammana facing her, one behind the other, bent over with their heads between the legs of the person in front and their hands clinging a little above the knees. or always at the hips of whoever was in front. These formed the so-called "Team and below".

When they were ready, the members of the so-called "squadra e 'ncoppa" began to jump one at a time with their legs apart on the backs of the members of the "team and below".

Naturally the first jumper had to try to jump as far as possible so as to make room for his companions who would jump after him and would also be able to sit on the backs of the members of the "bottom team".

All naturally under the cry of "three by three thirty-three".

When everyone had jumped, the upper team won if everyone had found a place and if the lower team had not "scunecchiati" (literally collapsed but here also in the sense of collapsed, broken, broken) before a predetermined period (usually a few seconds) counted aloud by the vammana.

The bottom team won if they didn't beat each other, or if not all the members of the top team found a place, or fell before the vammana finished counting.

The weakest points for the teams below were naturally the part where two members joined with their heads between each other's legs, while the strengths and usually the winning strategy of the teams above were those of have a good jumper as the first member and perhaps a slightly chubby boy to "land" after the jump in the weak points of the team below, i.e. where two members come together.



Mace and stink   

Perhaps not everyone knows that this is a very ancient game dating back to the 15th century and that it is played in more or less the same forms throughout Italy (and Europe) even if it is called differently. The original name is "Il gioco della Lippa" but it is also called "Cavicchiolo". What we are describing here could be defined as the "Moschianese variant" and it is described as we remember it being played in the 1960s.

The game could be played by two or more people, even in teams, but it needed fairly large spaces and possibly without windows nearby to avoid unwanted "trouble". In Moschiano, for example, "la Cappella" in the Croce district was the ideal place.

To play it, two sticks were needed, both with a diameter of about 4-5 cm and a length - one of about 40-50 cm (as a mallet) and the other about 15 centimeters (or stink). They were often made from olive, hazel or chestnut branches, but branches from any tree would do as long as they were nice and straight. Both sticks were cleaned of superfluous branches and, if any knots were present, the smaller one was sharpened on both sides. Often the bark was also removed.

Once the turns for the game were ready and established, via the usual "tuocco", a circle with a diameter equal to the length of the "bat" (the "House") was drawn on the ground.

The player (individual or of the team) who was "defending" placed the stink on the ground on the circumference of the circle and then hitting one of the sharpened ends with the bat caused it to rise into the air and rotate on itself almost doing somersaults. While he was in the air, the defensive player hit him with the bat, sending him as far away as possible.

Once this was done, he placed the bat at various diameters inside the circle while the "attacking" player went to where the stink had landed, picked it up and threw it towards the circle with the aim of hitting the bat or at least getting closer as much as possible to it. It mattered little whether the stink fell before or after the circle.

Once the stink was thrown towards the house, if it did not hit the bat or was not at a distance of at least the length of the bat itself, so that by placing one end on the circumference of the circle it could touch it, the defender declared the distance that separated the stench from the bat trying to guess the number of how many "bats" it would take for the stench to reach the house.

Once the distance prediction had been made, the defender could accept it (if he believed that the estimated distance was equal to or greater than the real distance that separated stink and house) or challenge the attacker to measure this distance using the club. The accepted estimated distance or the actual measured distance (usually greater than estimated) became the "official" distance. If the real distance was greater than the one proposed and challenged then it became the official one.

At this point the roles were reversed and the scenes were repeated in turn for all the members of the two teams. The game ended when all team members had played. In the case of only two players the ritual was repeated a couple of times which had been agreed upon at the beginning of the game.  A team won if the official total distance of all members between the stink and the house was less than that of their opponents. In the case of only two competitors, the one with the shortest total distance at the end of the pre-established rounds won.



O Strummolo (The spinning top)  

And to think that we children of the 60s didn't know it but "o strummolo" (the spinning top) was already a very popular game among the Greeks and Romans and that over time it was a source of entertainment for children (and others) of cultures more varied (from the English to the Japanese, to the Native Americans). Already cited by Callimachus (Greek poet and philosopher who lived between approximately 310 and 235 BC) and by Cato (Marco Porcio Catone known as the Censor  230-149 BC ) Roman politician, general and writer, it was called "turbo" and was played in a slightly different way from how we remember it even if we believe that somewhere it was still played as it was then.

In Cato's time the game consisted of drawing a large circle on the ground divided into ten sectors to each of which a score was assigned. The winner of the game was whoever among the participants rotated the top in the center with a string and it stopped in the sector with the highest score.

Over the centuries and depending on the place, the way of playing has changed. We recall here some that we practiced in the 1960s.

Played when there were only two participants, the spinning top game often took a turn, dare we say, "left". Both launched the strummulo at the same time and ensured that the two spinners collided. The one who stopped first remained "under" (on the ground).  At this point the losing spinner remained on the ground while the player who had won the first "round" launched his spinner again but this time with the clear intent of hitting and "destroying" (literally) the opponent's spinner which had remained underneath. As they said at the time, he tried to "split it" to take the central nail as a trophy. Naturally, for this to happen, some things were necessary: the player had to be very good at trying to catch the spinning top that was on the ground at the right point and this had to have been built with a relatively "softer" wood than the other. In other words a mixture of skill, dexterity, luck and experience.

Another way to play with the strummolo, especially if there were more than two of you, was simply to throw the top together and see which one stayed up the longest. That was then declared the winner. Naturally the game could be played in several rounds and in the end the winner was the person who had collected the most  victories in the various "rounds".

Incidentally, for those who want to understand more from the point of view of physics and the laws that govern the motion of spinning tops, there are very precise mathematical models to describe its motion, calculate its nutation or simply the so-called "sleeping" or "that" spinning top. fast".



O Chirchio (the Circle)  

Tell the truth, who has never heard the expression: "Go away, take a trip with the chirchio"? Or "Go for a spin with the hoop." As if to say go away from here and wander around without a specific destination (and don't bother us).

We are not sure but we believe that the etymology  of this phrase derives precisely from a game that we kids often played in the 50s, 60s and 70s, spread all over the world and which most likely has prehistoric origins, possibly from when the wheel was invented. In fact, we find it in photos or paintings from all over the world (Europe, Africa, North and South America, Asia) and even in Greek (5th century BC), Roman and 6th century AD archaeological paintings

Its diffusion was perhaps due to the simplicity of the game and its nature which required simple and easily available tools: a circle (of any material) and a wooden stick (but you could also do without it).

The game in its basic version is very simple: roll a circle (of any material) for as long as possible by running after it and keeping it in balance with a stick, hitting it from time to time to keep it moving and keep it in balance.  

In the '50s and '60s the rim used was often the wooden one made from old barrels of various sizes. Later it was replaced by iron ones (always made of barrels) and then again with bicycle or car wheels. 

This game was very popular in ancient Greece and the god Dionysius is often illustrated as a child with a bronze hoop called "krikoi". The stick was called "elater".

Hippocrates considered this game very healthy and recommended it to strengthen the physical constitution of children.

The Romans learned this game from the Greeks and called it "trochus".

It seems that in China the game was played in this way as early as 1000 BC, while the American Indians played a version called "Chunkey".

There is a considerable number of paintings of children in the 18th and 19th centuries portrayed with hoops for this game.


Skyphos greco - 470 AC

Skyphos greco - 470 AC

Cerchio 6to Sec DC - Costantinipoli

Cerchio 6to Sec DC - Costantinipoli

Ragazza con cerchio - 1885 - Renoir

Ragazza con cerchio - 1885 - Renoir

Ragazzi che giocano 1922 - Nord America

Ragazzi che giocano 1922 - Nord America

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